Australia

Architecture

Spy agency launches interactive online test to see if you’re cut out for the job

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Recruiting spies is seldom a public exercise, but Australia’s intelligence agency is doing something different.

The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), equivalent to the CIA and Britain’s MI6, has launched an online interactive test to discover people who are cut out for the job. 

Through a series of visual and aural exercises, the test seeks to identify suitable applicants that have the perception and empathy to work in the service. 

You’ll be required to pick out a missing number from a sequence, pick out faces in a crowd, and try and decipher information while three people are talking at the same time.  Read more…

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Architecture

Ambassador posts adorable proposal after marriage equality legalised in Australia

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Marriage equality is finally law in Australia, which means LGBTQ couples can start planning their weddings. Or in plenty of cases, start proposing.

As in the case of the Australian ambassador to France, Brendan Berne, who spared no time proposing to his longtime partner Thomas Marti on Thursday in Paris. 

The video was posted on Berne’s Twitter account mere hours after marriage equality was made legal in Australia.

“Now, as Australia has just approved marriage equality, it is my turn now. My turn to ratify my own relationship with my partner of 11 years Thomas. He is not aware of what I would like to do now,” Berne said in French. Read more…

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Architecture

Marriage equality has finally become law in Australia, at last

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It was left to the last minute, but marriage equality is finally legal in Australia.

The country’s federal parliament passed legislation allowing LGBTQ couples to marry on Thursday, the last day for politicians to decide on laws like this before the summer break.

Marriage equality supporters gathered in front of Parliament House in Australia’s capital, Canberra, to be there for the historic decision.

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Architecture

These ‘Star Wars’ themed sex toys will make you feel a different kind of force

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So that new Star Wars flick is coming out soon, which means plenty of cross-promotion.

But we have a hunch the marketing types behind the franchise would’ve approved Star Toys, a series of sex toys that will leave you feeling a different kind of force, we guess.

It’s a new collection from Geeky Sex Toys from Brisbane, Australia, who were also behind the innocence-destroying Pokémoan series from last year.

Of course, Star Toys takes a bit of a darker turn, with a six-piece Dark Side Bondage Kit, which includes a familiar-looking Laser Sword Flogger and a Space Station Ball Gag.  Read more…

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Business

Here’s what Facebook’s Australian users talked about the most in 2017

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It’s no secret that the conversations we have on Facebook are often different to ones we have on other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

That’s evident in Facebook’s data about the most-talked about topics in Australia for 2017, with women, sport and music leading the charge.

“This year, International Women’s Day was the most talked about topic on the platform, with conversation driven by the Women’s March, which ranked in the top ten global list, as well as the #metoo movement,” Mia Garlick, Facebook’s director of policy for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement. Read more…

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Business

Aussies on Twitter this year cared most about politics, marriage equality and of course, BTS

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Turns out 2017 ended up being a good year for fans of K-Pop and marriage equality.

Twitter has released its Australian year in review, revealing what the country’s users have been talking about.

Unsurprisingly, the country’s vote to allow LGBTQ couples to marry was among the most discussed topics on the platform. The hashtag #marriageequality, ranked second behind #auspol (short for Australian politics) in Twitter’s top list.

The country’s most retweeted post was one by Australian Marriage Equality on Nov. 15, which came shortly following the announcement that a majority of the country had voted yes. Read more…

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Business

Uber reveals 1.2 million customers affected by hack in one country alone

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Uber’s once secret data breach affected 57 million customers globally, but it’s only recently we’ve seen how the hack is affecting specific markets.

In Australia, the company’s local arm revealed 1.2 million customers were affected by the data breach, as per a report by the Australian Financial Review

An Uber spokesperson confirmed the number to Mashable. The number was given to the Australian Privacy Commissioner, and was “an approximate figure because the app does not always record the country code where a customer lives,” according to the newspaper. Read more…

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Architecture

Transgender teens won a big court decision in Australia today

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It’s a big win for transgender teens today in Australia.

Australia was the last place in the world transgender children needed court authorisation to receive Stage 2 hormone treatment, even if they or their parents consented to the procedure.

That’s now no longer the case thanks to a landmark decision in the country’s Family Court on Thursday, ending the need for the unnecessary and stressful legal process.

Since 2013, it’s been a requirement that courts need to approve Stage 2 treatment. 

Stage 2 hormone treatment involves the administration of oestrogen or testosterone, allowing an adolescent to develop the pubertal characteristics of the gender they associate with. It follows Stage 1 hormone treatment, which delays puberty. Read more…

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Business

Amazon’s Alexa and Echo to finally launch in Australia and New Zealand

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It’s not just Amazon itself that is yet to truly launch in Australia.

The company’s Alexa-powered Echo devices are not currently available in Australia or New Zealand, either. But they’re on their way, launching in both countries “early next year.”

On Thursday, Amazon announced the coming of its hands-free Echo device, activated by smart voice assistant Alexa, to both countries in 2018. 

Developers will be able to build localised voice experiences and embed uniquely Australian and New Zealand knowledge within Alexa with the expansion of the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) — a collection of self-service APIs — and the Alexa Voice Service (AVS). Read more…

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Entertainment

Geoffrey Rush faces allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’

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UPDATE: Nov. 30, 2017, 4:39 p.m. AEDT This piece has been updated with a statement from Sydney Theatre Company, as well as information regarding the Daily Telegraph.

Actor Geoffrey Rush, 66, is the latest celebrity to reject accusations of misconduct, according to allegations detailed by Australia’s Sydney Theatre Company.

In a statement, STC said it “received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behaviour.” 

The complaint was made when Rush’s “engagement with the company had ended.” Read more…

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Tech

Alexa is arriving in Australia and New Zealand early next year

 One more bit of news out of tonight’s Alexa State of the Union Keynote at AWS Re:Invent in Vegas. Amazon is finally bringing its voice service to Oceania. After several months of rumblings, the company announced today that Alexa will be arriving in Australia and New Zealand at some unspecified point in early 2018. In the meantime, it’s opening up its tools for developers, in order… Read More

Entertainment

So, maybe don’t get your penis out in public

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Look, it’s never been okay to expose yourself to an unwilling audience.

But amid revelations of sexual harassment by likes of Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K., it’s a worse time than ever for would-be exposers or harassers.

Not that it fazed Australian musician Kirin J. Callinan, who has been criticised for his brand of “ironic” toxic masculinity. At the ARIA Awards (Australia’s answer to the Grammys) on Tuesday, Callinan lifted up his kilt and exposed his penis on the red carpet. 

According to News Corp, Callinan “stood proudly for a solid moment to make sure it was seen and captured.”  Read more…

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Architecture

Woman posts video of crocodile attack, and it is heartstopping

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Welp, this is a close call.

A tourist was bitten on the leg by a crocodile on at Cape Tribulation in Queensland, Australia on Monday night, while standing on a creek bank close to the waters edge.

A Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) spokesperson said in a statement the crocodile was estimated to be 2 to 2.5 metres (78 to 98 inches) long. 

A video posted on the Facebook page of Ally Bullifent shows the crocodile attack, which comes out of nowhere. It’ll be sure to give you a shock. 

The EHP said it would carry out a site assessment of the area on Tuesday, and will possibly target the crocodile “for removal” as it has displayed dangerous behaviour in a designated area. This means it’ll be moved to a crocodile farm or a zoo, according to the Cairns Post. Read more…

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Architecture

With little else to rely on, refugees turn to Twitter to detail harsh treatment

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Australia’s offshore detention centres have long been a secretive, carefully guarded operation.

For those who remain inside them, smartphones and social media have been the main way to tell stories of their plight, as governments remain reticent on who is responsible for them and journalists struggle to gain access to the sites.

The situation has come to a head lately with the closure of the Australian-run Manus Island Regional Processing Centre in Papua New Guinea at the end of October. 

Home to more than 400 asylum seekers, the facility saw many refusing to leave for a new centre which is prone to attacks from the local community and is still under construction, as documented by the UNHCR. Read more…

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Business

Amazon has sorta, kinda launched in Australia

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For years, many Australians have only been able to window-shop at Amazon.

Now, the Australian iteration of Amazon Marketplace has seemingly launched in the country on Thursday afternoon, although it’s a very, very soft launch at that.

Rumours were abound that Amazon would launch its Australian store on Thursday at 2 p.m., leaving shoppers (but let’s face it, mainly journalists) ready to check out the so-called next revolution in shopping.

There was slight confusion, as the alleged launch time was dated for Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). Most of eastern Australia, except Queensland, is currently on daylight savings time (AEDT). Read more…

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Business

Backpackers and visiting workers face exploitation in this country

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It’s no surprise Australia is a drawcard for workers.

The country has one of the highest minimum wages in the world (A$18.29/US$13.96 per hour) and an attractive quality of life. But for many backpackers and migrants, exploitation by employers is rife.

One in three international students and backpackers are being underpaid, earning less than A$12 an hour, according to a comprehensive report called Wage Theft in Australia, which surveyed 4,322 people on temporary migrant visas.

While underpayment was widespread across many industries, the worst offenders were in food service — specifically in fruit and vegetable picking.  Read more…

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Architecture

Australia’s oldest human remains at 40,000 years old have returned home

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Australia’s oldest human remains have been returned to their ancestral home.

“Mungo Man,” who died more than 40,000 years ago, has been determined as the first known Australian, more evidence (if you somehow needed more) that Australia has been — and always will be — Aboriginal land.

The remains of “Mungo Man” were relinquished by scientists in Canberra on Nov. 15, and began the journey back to where they were first “discovered” and removed over 40 years ago in Lake Mungo, New South Wales. 

Although the discovery was considered a landmark for the scientific community, reports SBS, the removal caused much distress to the Traditional Owners of the Lake Mungo region. The remains were held at the Australian National University until 2015, until a decision was made to return them, along with the remains of about 100 other Aboriginal people. Read more…

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